Kevin Kwan May Face Jail Time for Skipping Singaporean National Service

Singapore wants him back and it's not because he's crazy rich.
Thursday 23 August 2018
'Crazy Rich Asians' author Kevin Kwan. Photo: AFP

Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians is wanted in his birth country of Singapore for failing to register for national service, according to the country’s Ministry of Defense.

He could face up to three years imprisonment for failing to register for the service.

“Mr Kevin Kwan failed to register for National Service (NS) in 1990, despite notices and letters sent to his overseas address. He also stayed overseas without a valid exit permit. Mr Kwan is therefore wanted for defaulting on his NS obligations,” the Ministry statement, emailed to CNN, states.

“In 1994, his application and subsequent appeal to renounce his Singapore citizenship without serving NS were rejected. Mr Kwan has committed offenses under the Enlistment Act, and is liable to a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to three years upon conviction.”

Despite widespread interest in the film, much of which is set in the city state, Kwan didn’t make an appearance at a red carpet event for the movie in Singapore, unlike the majority of the Singaporean members of the cast.

Kwan’s publicist has not yet responded to a CNN request for comment.

All male Singaporean citizens and second-generation permanent residents must complete the service in one of Singapore’s uniformed branches – the Singapore Armed Forces, Civil Defense Force or police – unless given an exemption. NS takes place at age 18.

According to Singapore’s Straits Times, Kwan’s family moved to Texas when he was 11, but as his appeal to renounce his Singaporean citizenship without completing NS was rejected, he could still find himself in legal jeopardy should he return to the country.

The Singaporean government has clamped down on defaulters since redefining the sentencing framework in 2017. In August, the Defense Ministry denied footballer Ben Davies a deferment to play football for English professional team Fulham.

At the time, Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said that the need for a robust defense of the country trumped “personal pursuits” and “mandates that each liable male performs his NS when required,” the Times reports.

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To be clear, Nick is not proposing to Colin. Photo: Warner Bros.

Shot almost entirely in Singapore, plot of the book and film make good use of Kwan’s homeland – coming across as “a love letter to the food, culture and beauty of this area,” according to the film’s producer, Brad Simpson.

Produced with the assistance of the Singapore Film Commission and the Singapore Tourism Board, state-owned media channels have been promoting the film relentlessly.

It opened in Singapore Tuesday to packed audiences, who, for the most part loved what they saw. Insiders say the ultra-exclusive world featured in both book and movie is as real as the Lion City’s stunning scenery.

Ranked one of the world’s richest countries, Singapore is believed to have the world’s fastest growing number of billionaires.

Source: Euan McKirdy/CNN-Wire

Related:Why People Cannot Stop Talking About Crazy Rich Asians